Our yoga class this morning used all Justin Bieber music. (I know. It’s legit the most fun class ever.) I’m not great at a few of the moves, mainly the extended leg squat that is approximately as awkward and challenging as it sounds. I mean, throw “squat” into any story and I’m gonna want out.
But Emmy is a good teacher and keeps us moving fast enough that I don’t really have time to leave the room before she’s released me from said squat situation and let me return to something less, well, squatty.
My brain spins during these classes. In ways that don’t happen during b.fab.fitness (because the music is pumping and I’m dancing so hard), lots of thoughts bubble up as I’m practicing yoga. I try to connect with God throughout, praying, thinking, listening, while also sweating my tail feathers off and trying not to fall over because please, Annie, don’t be the girl who falls over during yoga class.
I thought about a lot of things today during yoga. I thought about the first few verses of Romans because that’s what I read this morning before class. I thought about how unwise I’d been to come to yoga on an empty stomach because I was starting to feel sick. I thought about the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final and how my nails were painted navy and gold because I was ALL IN on these guys and their quest for a championship.
Toward the end of class, Emmy had us lay on our stomachs, stretch our arms out to either side, and do some rolling to stretch our shoulders and back. And in the background, Justin Bieber started talking over the music that was playing. Something about trying to “be the best,” wanting to be “good at something,” and how you “sometimes disappoint people,” but with God, “He’s perfect and He never disappoints.”
God never disappoints.
It stuck out to me. Those few words rolled around in my mind as I rolled around on my yoga mat. Do I believe Justin Bieber? Here I am, sweating my guts out and stretching muscles I didn’t know I had, wondering about my life and my story, and running head-on into the same question I can’t get away from: Is God kind? And if I really embrace that, believe that, will I end up disappointed?
As I walked to my car after class, I thought, I keep hearing the same question, but I don’t know the answer. And that’s true. True-ish.
I do know the answer.
I know God is always kind.
I know He provides.
I know God does not disappoint. But why do I forget what I know?
Because life isn’t always kind.
And my life doesn’t look the way I
thought it would.
And provision has a lot of faces.
And sometimes I’m really disappointed.
That’s the story here. That’s what this one is all about. And I’m really glad you’re here because this seems like a story we were always meant to live together. If you’ve been around the block with me a few times, either in books or from a stage or podcast or whatever, then you know me. And you know I wrestle. You know I wish things were easier and wish our stories were more streamlined and tied with a tighter bow at the end.
I struggle so much when my expectations of God don’t meet the reality of my current experience with life. The sadness has gotten so dark a few times, the loneliness so palpable, that it’s made my chest ache. The tears have felt so hot on my face that I wasn’t sure my little heart could take the disappointment it seemed to keep experiencing.
But you also know I’m not a quitter and I will not walk away until we are all convinced, myself included, that God is kind — until our belief is ruthless and can stand up against any situation — until we are sure, deep down in our guts, way farther down than where it can be stirred and messed with by life, that God is incredibly kind.
Because He is.
God does not disappoint. He always provides.
Selah. That’s what is true, and that’s what is swirling around in my mind. The empty places and the things that fill them. The manna, the divine provision from God. The way He shows up in places and faces that we would never expect. This is the part of our God, the kindness part, the show-up-ness part, that’s been messing with me. And changing me. And holding me.
Excerpted with permission from Remember God by Annie F. Downs. Copyright 2021, B&H Publishing.
Annie F. Downs is a bestselling author, nationally known speaker, and podcast host based in Nashville, Tennessee. An author of multiple bestselling books including 100 Days to Brave, Looking for Lovely, and Let’s All Be Brave, Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking at conferences, churches, and events. Annie hosts the weekly popular That Sounds Fun Podcast and is a huge fan of bands with banjos, glitter, her community of friends, boiled peanuts, and soccer. Read more at anniefdowns.com and follow her @anniefdowns.